We have mentioned this before that the only proper way to book either your driving theory test or driving practical test is to to do it directly via the Governments website or phone numbers.
They have now confirmed this directly on their website and warn against ‘copycat’ websites that often charge a surcharge for the privilege of booking the tests.
Alastair Peoples, DSA Chief Executive, said:
It’s unacceptable that some of these websites try to trick learner drivers into paying an extra fee to book their driving test.
We’ve already taken action with Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority to make sure that they don’t use official logos, trademarks or make misleading claims. We continue to monitor these sites and explore new ways to counteract activities.
via Learner drivers warned about extra charges – News stories – GOV.UK.
Anything that can be done to reduce road casualties must be a positive thing. Such a scheme though may not please learner drivers but, if the impact is reduced accidents, this should result in reduced insurance premiums. These cost, more often than not, more than the value of a new drivers car! That in itself should provide some comfort for our new drivers.
When it comes to the time to book your driving theory test, most are likely to use a search engine to find the correct web page/site to make an online booking or to obtain contact details to make a telephone booking.
Beware! There are a number of websites that you can use to book a theory test with the DSA but these are third parties and they will charge you an additional fee in addition to the standard fee for the test.
Here is a story that has highlighted the problem – the website referred to has been fined £85,000 by the premium rate phoneline regulator PhonepayPlus:
Here’s a horribly sneaky way to rip off people booking their driving theory test online.
The website book-theory-test-online.co.uk offered a “Pass Protection Guarantee Scheme”. This was supposed to cover the cost of a re-take if you failed the theory test the first time round.
“With our pass protection guarantee you don’t need to worry – we’ll pay for a second test if you fail the first one!” it crowed.
When you want to book your theory test, do so directly on the Governments official website. You will then only pay the standard fee and should you need to make a telephone call, you will not be charged exorbitant prices:https://www.gov.uk/book-a-driving-theory-test
You will want to list ALL the towns and villages you cover no matter how insignificant you feel they may be – it is amazing what some people will search for. A standard listing can list 100 towns and a Featured Listing 1000 towns.
There is no point in having something like ‘Staines and all surrounding areas’. Your potential pupils will not be searching for terms like that. If they were to search for Laleham (a small village near Staines) then your listing would not be found.
Post codes can and should be listed also. Again, please list all the post codes you cover.
Please also use the ‘Additional School Information’ wisely. Your listing is essentially an advert for your driving school – we guess you have listed your school as you want more business? Try and include as much information about your driving school, especially anything that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Review the other driving school listings that cover your towns and ask yourself, “Who would I possibly choose from these listings if I were learning to drive?”.
Don’t complete your listing all in capitals / upper case – it is harder for people to read and they will likely skip on to the next listing.
(DON’T COMPLETE YOUR LISTING ALL IN CAPITALS – UPPER CASE – IT IS HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO READ AND THEY WILL LIKELY SKIP ON TO THE NEXT LISTING – SEE WHAT WE MEAN?).
If you use commas, always put in a space after it – again, it is easier to read.
(If you use commas,always put in a space after it-again,it is easier to read,see what we mean?).
If you have a Featured Listing, try and ensure that you upload a suitable graphic – perhaps your logo or training car. Visitors are attracted to pictures.
We have just completed a new video for the directory which uses doodle animation – what do you think?
We are considering offering these video type adverts for driving instructors on the directory. They are good for posting to your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. to boost your web presence. Is that something you may be interested in? Any thoughts as to the sort of content you would want in them?
Do please email your comments via the ‘Contact’ link at the bottom of this web page.
In a recent survey undertaken by Admiral car insurance, only 22% of learner drivers believed their parents were of a satisfactory standard to learn from. However, I think this is missing the point.
I have always encouraged my pupils to gain additional driving experience from private practice as the more hours you can spend in a car, the more your confidence and skills are improved.
These sessions should be regarded as an extension to formal driving lessons and not just a ‘sunday drive’ or an opportunity for the parents to ‘teach’. The latter may well contradict what the professionsal driving instructor has taught and may well serve to confuse the pupil.
It is imperative that the pupil applies what the ADI has taught them and not ‘as Dad says’ as bad habits can be quickly learnt but often takes a lot longer to break them.
Remember that a parent accompanying a learner driver can be a very stressful situation for them. They are not used to being a passenger to a novice driver and they do not have the comfort of dual controls! It is the pupils role to make Mum or Dad ‘comfortable’ in the passengers seat as otherwise you may not get much private practice at all!
They may ask you to ‘brake’, ‘slow down’ etc. as they do not know what you are thinking or if you have spotted other traffic, pedestrians, changing lights etc. One of the best ways to gain their confidence in you is to talk through what you are seeing and what you are doing e.g. “There is a petrol station on the left, ahead. Traffic may emerge from there so I am aware of that, expecting that and covering the brake” or “pedestrian crossing ahead – looking for pedestrians that may be approaching – I am prepared to stop / slow down”.
You should talk to your parents ahead of any private practice and clarify that their role is a supervisory one for safety and legal reasons. Your driving instructor will always be happy to talk to parents about their role.
Passing your driving test is one of the main ambitions of most teenagers in the UK. The cost of learning to drive is very high (unless your Dad is a driving instructor!) and anything that can be done to mitigate these costs is always welcomed. So, passing your driving test at the first opportunity will really help in this regard. According to the DSA (Driving Standards Agency), the top 5 reasons for driving test failure in 2010 were:
Use of mirrors
Reverse park (control)
Reverse/left reverse (control)
Move off (safety)
This information can be used to ensure that you practice these areas thoroughly both on formal driving lessons and during any private practice that may be undertaken. Indeed, if you are fortunate to have private practice, treat them as lessons rather than a ‘drive around’ – be disciplined.
The following article provides more information on the above areas:
iDrive Driving School: DRIVING TEST TIPS | TOP 10 REASONS …
“TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE FAIL THEIR PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST! The national average practical driving test pass rate is approximately 42%!www.idriveblog.co.uk/…/driving-test-tips-top-10-reasons-why…”
Your driving test is likely to be a very nervous experience for you but if you are fully prepared, your driving skills should overcome your nerves and hopefully lead to a successful result. The more information you have about the test, the better you will be prepared.
It has been announced that the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) and VOSA (Vehicle Operators Services Agency) are to be merged.
The current DSA cjief executive, Rosemary Thew, will be leaving her position at the end of June and advised the following to the DIA (Driving Instructors Association):
Single agency The Department for Transport (DfT) has just announced the creation of a single agency which will bring together the testing and standards services that are currently provided by the DSA and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). Change of leadership Also, for some time now, for private and personal reasons, I have been considering stepping down from my role as Chief Executive of the DSA and leaving the Civil Service. The creation of a single agency replacing DSA and VOSA seems the right time for a change of leadership. Therefore, I shall be leaving DSA on 30 June and a new transitional board, to be announced in due course and led by Alastair Peoples, Chief Executive of VOSA, will oversee the strategic operation of both agencies towards a full integration over the next year. Better services The reforms being announced today are an outcome of the recent Motoring Services Strategy consultation and are designed to offer motorists and businesses better and more convenient services whilst ensuring that road safety and first class customer service remain a top priority. The changes should not impact on the continued provision of services to the public or the progress of the ongoing reform programmes. I am confident that the team here at DSA under Alastair’s leadership will continue to offer our customers the very best service they can as the merger proceeds and the combined agency emerges.
The driving instructor market is heavily saturated and as a result, there are many driving schools that are having to cut their prices to gain new business or even just to survive. Obviously, this is very good news for pupils but it is leading many driving schools to ‘hang up’ their L plates.
There is a new scheme introduced in Gloucestershire which, whilst its aim is to promote road safety, nonetheless is going to undoubtedly further the price competition within the area.
Driving lessons for £3 part of programme to boost safety for young drivers
This is Gloucestershire
“DRIVING lessons for £3 and video images of traffic accidents are part of a £20,000 package to boost safety for young drivers. Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl is putting £20,000 into the scheme over the next two years. Up to …”
Whilst the scheme is limited to a relatively small number of pupils, if it is deemed as a success, will it lead to similar schemes across the country? Driving schools would want to keep an eye open for this and get themselves on the ‘books’ of such scheme operators.